A lactose tolerance test measures how well your body processes lactose. Most dairy products contain a type of sugar called lactose, and our intestines have an enzyme called lactase that helps the body process these dairy products. This enzyme helps break down lactose during digestion. However, some people have lower levels of lactase than normal. In such cases, the lactose is not adequately broken down. This results in it persisting in the intestines and fermenting over time. This inability to digest lactose is known as lactose intolerance. There are three kinds of tests that medical practitioners use to check lactose intolerance. These include Hydrogen Breath Test, Lactose Tolerance Test, and Stool Acidity Test.
Hydrogen Breath Test
This is the most common lactose intolerance test. During this test your doctor will have you drink a liquid containing lactose and make you breathe into a balloon-like instrument to determine the hydrogen levels in your breath. The more hydrogen you exhale, the more likely it is that your body is unable to process lactose.
Lactose Tolerance Test
Similar to the Hydrogen Breath Test, this test also requires you to drink a lactose liquid solution. After a couple of hours, your doctor will take a blood sample to measure the levels of glucose in it. If your blood glucose levels do not rise, it means your body is not digesting or absorbing the lactose efficiently.
Stool Acidity Test
Infants and babies are not eligible for the above two tests. This is why a stool acidity test is necessary for them. A doctor will take their stool sample to check if the lactose is being properly broken down in their system. If they are lactose intolerant, the lactose ferments in their intestines creating lactic acid, which can be detected in their stool.
When Is A Lactose Intolerance Test Necessary?
A lactose intolerance test is recommended if you show symptoms of lactose intolerance. These could include feeling nauseated, getting cramps shortly after consuming dairy foods, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Lactose intolerance is also known to occur more often in older adults and premature babies. If detected with lactose intolerance, your medical practitioner may ask you to refrain from consuming any dairy products for a while to see if the symptoms subside.
Preparing For A Lactose Intolerance Test
Prior to taking a lactose intolerance test, it is best to ask your doctor about any dietary restrictions. Your doctor may ask you to not eat or drink for 8 hours prior to the test. Ensure you speak to your doctor about any other medical conditions you may have and any medications you’re currently taking since some medications may interfere with the test results. If you’re a smoker, consult with your doctor about consuming tobacco prior to the test.
Effects of Not Treating Lactose Intolerance
Not getting your lactose intolerance levels checked can result in a variety of body functioning problems. Usually, the symptoms of being lactose intolerant occur between 1-2 hours after consuming dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, and so on. You may experience abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and even constipation. These can range from mild to severe depending on how much lactose was consumed and the lactase levels in a person’s body.
Treatment of Lactose Intolerance
In most cases, if you’re lactose intolerant, your physician will recommend decreasing or completely eliminating milk products from your diet. You can however indulge in lactose free products, certain types of cheese, such as swiss and cheddar, and non-fat milk products. There are over-the-counter capsules, pills, and drops available to be taken before consuming dairy products. However, it is best to consult with your medical practitioner before taking these. Additionally, if you’re lactose intolerant and not consuming any dairy products, you could be deficient in calcium, vitamin D, protein, and riboflavin. Hence, it is important to consult with your doctor who will recommend foods and supplements that are naturally high in these vitamins.At our medical center in Sharjah, you will find qualified doctors and physicians to help you understand your medical needs and provide personalized consultations suited to your requirements. Get in touch with us at https://ibo.ae/.